Poor ethics of Constitutional Judges

The credibility of the Constitutional Court (MK) has now reached a new low. With the bribery case involving Judge Patrialis Akbar being processed now, the Court is again in the limelight regarding the issue of integrity and commitment against corruption.

Based on media coverage, about half of constitutional judges (of which there are eight), have not reported or updated their wealth to the Corruption Eradication Commission. The list includes the name of Arief Hidayat, Chairman of the Constitutional Court, who is supposed to be an example and role model for the other judges.

Arief Hidayat, while serving as Deputy Chief of Justice, had reported his wealth to the Commission. However, when he was sworn in as the Chairman of the Constitutional Court, he has not updated his report. Other constitutional judges who have not yet updated their wealth are Anwar Usman (Deputy Chairman of the Constitutional Court), Suhartoyo, and Aswanto.

Based on data from the Anti Corruption Clearing House - Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK-ACCH), until 1 March 2017, only four judges have complied in reporting their wealth as constitutional judges. These are Maria Farida Indrati (reporting in 2015, with Rp 8.5 billion of wealth), Wahiduddin Adam (reporting in 2014 with Rp 3.7 billion of wealth), Dewa Gede Palguna (reporting in 2015 with Rp 5.2 billion of wealth), and Manahan MP Sitompul (reporting in 2016 with Rp 1.132 billion of wealth).

The regulation requiring state officials - including judges of the Constitutional Court - to report their assets is stipulated in Law No. 28 of 1999 on Clean and Corrupt-Free State Administration. In Article 5, paragraph 3, it is stated that each state official is obliged to report and announce their wealth before and after taking office.

On the other side, the non-compliance is a violation of the code of conduct and behavior of the constitutional judges. Constitutional Court Regulation Number 09/PMK/2006 on the code of conduct and behavior of constitutional judges, especially related to the principles of appropriateness and decency, in point 6, mentions that constitutional judges must transparently announce their personal and family wealth on their own accord in accordance with applicable laws.

Not reporting or informing wealth in accordance with applicable laws will harm the respect, dignity, and public confidence in the constitutional judges and the Constitutional Court as an institution. This condition also has an impact on the public doubt about the anti-corruption commitment of each constitutional judge.

Non-compliance on the reporting obligations of property encourages a number of NGOs such as Indonesia Corruption Watch, the Indonesian Legal Aid Association, and Indonesia Budget Centre, who are members of the Coalition to Save the Constitutional Court, to report the four constitutional judges to the Board of Ethics of the Constitutional Court on the alleged violation of code of ethics and conduct of judges.

To restore the image of the Court in the public eye, the Board of Ethics, regardless of reports or complaints, should impose sanctions for Constitutional Judges who are considered to disobey the command of the Law, in particular regarding the reporting obligations as state officials. All constitutional judges must also promptly report and update their wealth honestly and regularly as a form of their anti-corruption commitments. *** (Emerson / Adnan)


Kelompok masyarakat sipil melakukan aksi "Tolak Bala" di depan Gedung Merah-Putih KPK, 20 Desember 2019, menjelang pelantikan Pimpinan KPK dan Dewan Pengawas KPK Terpilih (Dok. ICW)

Pimpinan KPK dan Dewan Pengawas resmi dilantik oleh Presiden Joko Widodo.
Foto: LKPP, 2019

The participants of the Public Procurement Monitoring Training, representatives from local CSOs and journalists. Photo: NPPA, 2019

NPPA Chief Roni said, the NPPA needs public assistance, including from civil society and...
Foto: infopublik.id

Foto: infopublik.id

We call on the Indonesian executive and legislature to uphold the Jakarta Principles on...
foto: thediplomat.com

The staggeringly long list of candidates voters were choosing between hangs outside a polling station in North Sumatra. Photo from Wikimedia Commons/ Davidelit.

While the vote was largely free and fair, there are issues that Indonesian authorities must address...